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The Positive Effects of Drug Awareness

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The temptation to use drugs and alcohol is seen in social media and advertisements every day. Television, commercials, billboards, and movies bombard the teenage consumer. Although these factors can be seen in the home, the prevention of using these substances can be taught at home as well. “A child educated only at school is an uneducated child” (George Santayana). In other words, what a child is taught at home will reflect in the decisions they will make in life and what path they will go down later on in life. Yet, if nothing is taught at home they may jeopardize future opportunities like having a career and prospering well in life.

Teaching children early on in life about drugs and alcohol prevention can have a better impact on adolescents making positive decisions. It has been shown that the first time use of alcohol and drugs occurs during middle and high school grades. This idea stems from the lack of guidance and awareness children are given at home about these issues. Young adults and children who have participated in drug prevention programs like D.A.R.E, in elementary and middle school have reduced the misuse of drugs and alcohol by sixty-five percent because of their initial knowledge of drugs and alcohol at home. Some points that support this idea are peer pressure, the consequences of drug and alcohol use, and the positive effects of drug and alcohol prevention being taught at home.

What causes the curiosity and temptation of using drugs and alcohol of children? It is safe to say that peer pressure plays the biggest role. The people that a person may come in contact with such as siblings, classmates, teammates and friends impact ones opinions about what is wrong and what is right. Our peers influence the way we act thing and make decisions when in social setting that may lead to substance use. Peer pressure is something everyone has to face at some point during adolescence. “Just Do It” isn’t just a slogan, it’s a phrase that some peers use against other teens to persuade a person to do something.

Most people look to be accepted by peers or society in general. Although they may have no intention or desire to try drugs and alcohol one might do them just to impress their friends or in other words feel accepted. Some may try drugs and alcohol also because of indirect peer pressure. “Indirect peer pressure is when someone sees everyone around him or her using drugs and he might think that there is nothing wrong with using drugs” (Peer Pressure). If a person sees his/her friends doing activities such as drugs or alcohol without seeing the negative effects it can cause, he/she might think that it is okay to partake in such activities as well not knowing the down side of drugs and alcohol.

Although peer pressure may trigger the temptation of drug and alcohol use, teens tend not to think about the consequences of substance use. The uses of drugs and alcohol also have legal consequences that could alter one’s life as well as physical consequences because it can affect the body. “Young people who persistently abuse substances often experience an array of problems, including academic difficulties, health-related problems (including mental health), poor peer relationships, and involvement with the juvenile justice system. Additionally, there are consequences for family members, the community, and the entire society” (Consequences of Youth Substance Abuse). This emphasizes how not only does substance abuse effects the person it affects everyone them in a negative way. Grades began to decline, the risk of substance use related deaths such as suicide, homicide, and car accidents. These key points make the issues of drug and alcohol prevention extremely important to be taught.

Even with peer pressure being one of the biggest causes of drug and alcohol use by teens, and knowing the consequences that may occur, the biggest prevention of drug and substance starts at home. “Children are like wet cement; whatever falls on them makes an impression” (Ginott). Whatever one is taught early on impacts them for the rest of their life. In other words, if parents talk to children at an early age about the importance of not using drugs and alcohol the chances of teens giving into peer pressure and having to face the consequences of drug abuse would decline. “Parents provide role models, define standards of behavior and achievement, set limits, and provide consequences for risky behaviors. Regarding drug and alcohol abuse, parents must talk early and talk often” (Preventing Adolescent Substance Abuse). In other words, parents are the key factor in eliminating substance usage of adolescents.

According to the U.S. census, one third of all school age children in the United States are, for some part of the week, latch key kids; that is, they go home to an empty house or apartment. The total number may be between five and seven million children between five and 13 years old. Marian Wright Edelman, the director of the Children’s Defense Fund, thinks it’s close to 16 million children. The Census Bureau found that 15% were home alone before school, 76% after school and 9% at night. Presumably, the 9% have parents who work night shifts (Alston). Therefor children can do anything between the times their parents go to work. Alston goes on to say “Most teachers believe that being alone at home is the number one cause of school failure.

The afternoon hours are the peak time for juvenile crime. In the last 11 years, juvenile crime has increased 48%. The Carnegie Council on Adolescent Development found that 8th graders who are alone 11 hours a week are twice as likely to abuse drugs as adolescents who are busy after school”. “Unsupervised children are more likely to become depressed, smoke cigarettes and marijuana and drink alcohol. They are also more likely to be the victims of crimes” (Alston). This just goes to prove that parents being there are very influential in a Childs daily life. It’s safe to say the quote “A child educated only at school is an uneducated child” (George Santayana) is proven to be true.

The effectiveness of preventing drug and alcohol usage starts at home. Teaching children early on in life about drugs and alcohol prevention can have a better impact on positive adolescents making positive decisions. “Children are like wet cement; whatever falls on them makes an impression” (Ginott). Teaching children positive habits impacts them greatly. Whether it may be peer pressure in which most adolescents encounter when deciding whether or not to use substances, or knowing the consequences that come when dealing with drugs and alcohol. Receiving information at home through the teachings of parents about drugs and substance abuse prevention is the most effective way to providing drug awareness.

Works Cited
Alston, Frances K. “Latch Key Children.” Education.com. NYU Child Study Center, 09 July 2010. Web. 05 Mar. 2014.
“Consequences of Youth Substance Abuse.” Consequences of Youth Substance Abuse. Www.ojdp.gov, May 1998. Web. 04 Mar. 2014
“George Santayana Quote.” BrainyQuote. Xplore, n.d. Web. 05 Mar. 2014.
Ginott, Haim. Trans.Quote Factory.Quotefactory.com, n.d. Web. 05 Mar. 2014 “Peer Pressure.” StudyMode. Studymode.com, Mar. 2012. Web. 05 Mar. 2014.

“Preventing Adolescent Substance Abuse.” Substance Abuse Prevention. Hazelden, n.d. Web. 05 Mar. 2014.

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